Bantam, June 2003, 5.99, 416 pp.
Following the death of his wife and child, Devlin of Duncaer was named Kinslayer and became Kinbereft. He sought death so he asked to be considered the Jorskian Empire's Chosen One. Found worthy, a magical geas was placed on him forcing him to put the empire's needs before his own even if it meant his death.
Devlin's accomplishments quickly made him a favorite of the king and the people and the monarchy names him General of the Royal Army. Devlin worries that war is inevitable but fails to persuade the nobles and the king that a crisis is coming. Meanwhile they want Devlin to own the Sword of Light, which he recognizes from a palace picture as being in Duncaer. He hates returning home as everyone scorns him, but the geas forces him to obtain the sword. On his way to Aluaran to pick up the sword, a wizard places him under a dangerous spell that interferes with his mission. If he fails to gain the sword, the empire could collapse at a time when war is imminent.
Devlin is the key to this action-packed fantasy as readers will reach out to him with empathy while he seeks to die until he obtains a reason to live. Once Devlin becomes the Chosen One, protecting those most vulnerable as well as the empire, the audience will switch emotions and end up rooting for him as a hero and feel his angst when he goes back to his home as a most hated conqueror. This protagonist turns a well-written epic fantasy into a powerful action and adventure tale loaded with a deep cast led by this champion.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner